By learning what marketing is really all about (read What is Marketing?) we understand that the key to all good marketing is our Marketing Strategy. It is the intelligence behind our marketing that powers it to produce results and to overcome and defeat our competitors. Without a good strategic approach, our marketing efforts fail to produce results and we are left vulnerable to competitive market forces. Eventually, one day we wake up to discover a new competitor has trumped us at our own game and our clients have ‘moved on’.
We often ask companies – especially in areas requiring competency and technical expertise (e.g. mechanics, engineers, lawyers, accountants, etc) – whether they would consider a DIY approach to their profession – if it were possible – as being a good option for their clients. Unanimously they respond with looks of horror and, in some cases, gales of laughter. Yet these same companies all seem to see no incongruity with their own efforts at DIY marketing – why is that?
All leaning goes through the same four basic steps:
We don’t know that we don’t know
Before we can learn something new, we must first discover that we have a need to learn. For example, when we first try to ride a bicycle we think it will be easy: ‘we don’t know that we don’t know’ how to ride a bicycle. However, as soon as we get on the bike, we quickly discover that is not as easy at it looks – typically by falling off and getting hurt.
We know that we don’t know
The act of falling off the bike teaches us that we don’t know how to ride the bike. That is, ‘we now know that we don’t know’ how to ride a bicycle – thus true learning can now commence.
We know that we know
Through hard work we learn how to ride a bike. However, our attempts at riding are faltering and we tend to look very incompetent: as we need to concentrate very hard in order to not fall off again. We now ‘know that we know’ how to ride a bicycle, but we have to use all our mental facilities to put what we know into practice.
We don’t know that we know
Finally, when we have become so practiced at riding that we simply jump on to the bike and go from A to B without thinking about what we are doing, we have reached the final stage of leaning: ‘we don’t know that we know’ how to ride a bicycle – i.e. it no longer requires a mental effort. Our bodies have developed ‘muscle memory’ that does the job for us so we can concentrate on other things other than riding the bike.
With marketing and advertising we simply don’t know that we don’t know how to do marketing. It is all very easy to understand when it gets explained to us – and seems so obvious. However, even the seemingly obvious still needs to be learnt.
What is more, we simply do not appreciate the skills that a competent designer, copywriter, graphic artist, marketing consultant, etc. has. These skills have been acquired over many years and enable them to turn your pig’s ear into a silk purse… i.e. they have the ability to ‘sell’ your company and make it stand out from your competitors.
The fear of failure that drives us to hire other professionals is simply not there when it comes to marketing and advertising. On top of this, large companies, like Spark (New Zealand’s primary telecom company), spend huge amounts of money promoting the idea that we can ‘build a DIY website in less than 30 minutes for little to no cost’ – and no one even stops to think what the likes of Spark are getting out of this deal. We assume they are just being helpful – yeah right! Therefore, why should we spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to pay a professional to do the same thing?
It never occurs to us that, with our website being arguably the most important marketing devise we have in today’s world, the whole idea of a DIY (Destroy It Yourself) website is simply committing suicide for your company. We just don’t know that we don’t know that other companies have built powerful automated sales and marketing tools (read Database Marketing) into their website that drive passive income and become a fortress against competitive market forces - and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what a website should be.
But this same thinking is not merely limited to website design, it also encompasses our branding, company brochure, and other marketing collateral, as well as where it is best to spend our marketing budget – regardless of how small it may be.
Years ago our advertising agency threw away the idea of charging consulting fees, so that our clients could take advantage of our expertise and ensure whatever tiny budget they may have was put to the best use. Today it seems we once again need to win over our client’s ignorance by promoting no-cost consulting so that this new generating of companies does not fall into the same traps our 1990’s clients did with the advent of desktop publishing.
If you have a company, and need help with your marketing, please contact Terrence Bull for a free, no-obligation, one hour marketing consultation.